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Worldly Distractions: Modern Family 6.1 - The Long Honeymoon





One could say that Modern Family has enjoyed a rather long honeymoon of its own, having just broken the record for Most Undeserved Emmys with its fifth straight Best Comedy Series win. Never has a show been so rewarded...so praised...and so mediocre. As we enter the sixth season, one has to ask - is the honeymoon over yet? We can only hope.


As for the actual in-show honeymoon, it appears to be over, as Cam and Mitch are home and excessively lovey-dovey. Cameron is especially into their new wedded bliss, sending Mitch dozens of bouquets and peppering him with gushy compliments. Meanwhile, Mitchell's patience is wearing thin and Lily is outright contemptuous. Opening credits, during which I keep looking to see if they've added Cousin Oliver yet.

Over at the Dunphy Residence, the kids are being excessively polite to each other. Claire has a new, extremely iffy haircut. She's also insanely permissive. The family explains that their summer is going extremely well, and so they're in a permanent (and annoying) good mood. Claire even loves Phil's magic tricks, for the first time in decades of marriage. I immediately head to Google to find out whether Disney recently brought the rights to The Stepford Wives. 

Meanwhile, the Pritchett-Delgados are considerably less blissful, with Gloria mad at both her men - Jay because he doesn't dress well, Manny because he won't talk to a large number of Colombian relatives. The Dunphys are still terrifyingly touchy-feely, extending their good mood to a confused Uncle Mitch (and pulling off some creaky magic tricks, too). This is especially relevant because Mitch has come to ask Claire for advice on Cam's obsessive need to keep the honeymoon going. She advises him to suck it up and let Cam lose interest on his own, then pushes Mitchell out of the house so as not to let the negativity disrupt their happiness. Unfortunately, the world seems to be against them, as Alex arrives home in a very foul mood.

Having spent the summer at a charity project, she regales the family with tales of just how bad the summer was. This has effects on her brother and sister, which Phil and Claire try to shut down - but it's much too late for that. However, when Alex leaves, they return to their sunny selves. In fact, the mood seems to oscillate depending on Alex's proximity to the house. And let's make this "Reason Why Alex Should Move Out #254". Also, a bat is involved for some reason.

Jay comes home from the dry cleaner confused. Apparently, they have a habit of losing all his shirts - specifically, the ugly ones. The mystery is solved when Manny has Jay speak to the Colombian relatives via Skype. Jay locates all of his shirts, in a living room thousands of miles away. However, as Gloria points out, the shirts mostly get sent back anyway, so what's the problem? When pressed, she admits she doesn't like the way he dresses, and he says she overdoes it, and they argue about honesty and such. They end up with tacked-on smiles on their faces, which still seems way more honest than what's happening at the Dunphys'.

To drive her point home, Gloria attempts to go to an important dinner with clients sporting messy hair, ripped jeans, smeared clown-ish makeup and an old sweatshirt. Jay is aghast. Phil and Claire not-so-subtly try to push Alex back to her charity thing, hoping to bring the good mood back to the house for a week. Naturally, she figures out what they're doing, and I've got to say, I feel Alex's pain here. The way this show treats her can be pretty lousy, and here the Dunphys are all-out rotten. You had the complex kid - suck it up and deal with her quirks. Remember, guys - people who don't totally fit in aren't worth the trouble! (And yes, I kind of get that this is the theme of the episode, but this storyline is pretty abhorrent.)

Cam embarrasses the crap out of Mitchell by showing up at his work event and acting like a twit, despite Mitchell's hints that this is a Serious Corporate Event. As the entire room stares at them, Mitch gently asks his husband to tone it down a bit. Cam is, of course, mortally offended. Maybe we'll get television's first same-sex divorce!

Gloria continues to act strangely on their way to the restaurant, and finally Jay concedes that he likes her to look pretty. She counters that he doesn't make any effort in that direction anymore. He tells her of an incident in a store where two men were laughing at him for "trying to hard". She assures him he's still sexy (oh, and she's totally not a gold digger, either). They skip the business dinner and decide to go home and be sexy together.

Still offended, Cam cancels the elaborate "three-monthaversary" celebration he had planned. Mitchell half apologizes and half defends himself. As the episode has hinted at, it turns out that Cameron doesn't want the honeymoon to end, and has resorted to increasingly creepy and melodramatic measures to keep it going. I'm not sure if Lily has a pet bunny, but if she does, keep it the fuck away from Cam.

See, Cam is haunted by the lack of passion in their relationship after the first two years, when parenting and work became the most important things. Mitch offers to take on some of the romance, despite being terrible at it. Miraculously, he saves the moment, playing "their song" and offering Mitch a dance. An angry Lily demands an end to "fairy time" - that is, she wants to get out of the costume Cameron made her wear for the celebration.

Alex heads out on her trip full of complaints that she doesn't fit in anywhere, that her family hates her, etc. And to be honest, she's not far off. She notices that Haley has her webcam on at all times (which means that her very successful YouTube channel has been transmitting all her activities this summer - um, that's not how YouTube works), and Claire has accidentally set her book on fire, because "not a genius" apparently translates to "dumber than a bag of rocks". In addition, Phil and Luke have made a rhubarb pie using the leaves, which are poisonous. And yes, I did just Google that, because with so many people growing it in their gardens you'd think there would be a lot more deaths. The family begs her to stay, because they're too dumb to live and her knowledge makes her useful. Let's all cheer for family...love?

Jay and Gloria arrive home, only to find that the family has all gathered for a surprise party. Sure, Gloria's birthday isn't until next week, and all the other characters seemed to be tied up with other stuff at the same time, but - no, that's it. I'm done. No more excuses. This show has been on a steady downhill ever since Season 1, and it continues to get praise from all corners, and IT BEAT ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK FOR THE EMMY. What is it, people? What am I missing? Are the characters not Flanderized to all hell, are the plots not hackneyed beyond belief, is the show not devoid of any kind of modernity? Dumb joke about Gloria being able to look sexy quickly! Sexist comment from Jay about women taking forever to get ready! Aaand we're done. Finally.

Tag scene - the Dunphy family consistently embarrasses themselves in front of Haley's webcam. Sure, why not.

Well, I have to say, this was particularly dismal season premiere. The characters barely resembled the characters we used to know, the plots were sloppy and rang false, everyone had the same argument they've been having for six years, and the writers seem to be getting lazier each week. It was bland and not particularly funny, and some moments were just plain painful. Tune in next week, and bring at least a quart of vodka with you. And Emmy voters - for shame.


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